An U.S. fighter jet refuels from an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker Aug. 21.

An U.S. fighter jet refuels from an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker Aug. 21. (Shawn Nickel/U.S. Air Force)

Aerial refueling missions may not be new for the Air Force crews of 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, as they've supported operations in Afghanistan.

But assignment over Iraq as civilians face siege from Islamic State militants takes on special significance for the crew.

“From a personal perspective we have seen a lot of gruesome acts across the news in the past several weeks,” Air Force Capt. Ryan Christie, a pilot and mission commander with the squadron, was quoted as saying in a military news release.

Here's a gallery of the 340th EARS flying over Iraq courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

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